In the spirit of the circus/carnival party I had recently, I decided to include a themed cocktail for the festivities. I was eating some nachos with cheese sauce piled high with pickled jalapeños at my party when it hit me that I didn’t come across jalapeño cocktails all that often. Probably the most common kind is a jalapeño margarita but outside of that, I’d never really heard of one. I’m sure they are out there, but I decided to see what I could some up with.
I started with a standard dirty martini recipe and replaced the olive jar juice and olives with jalapeño juice and slices of jalapeños. It turned out really good! If you like a little spice and the flavor of pickled jalapeños, you’d probably love this drink.
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
- 1 oz. pickled jalapeño juice from jar
- 1-5 drops hot sauce (I used habanero hot sauce)
- 2-3 slices pickled jalapeño
- Put all of the ingredients, except the sliced jalapeños, in a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake hard about 4-5 times and strain into a chilled martini glass.
- Garnish with several jalapeño slices.
Last year when American Horror Story: Freak Show debuted I got the idea to do a circus party at my house. While having a creepy party in the same vein as AHS: Freak Show is definitely my cup of tea, I decided a kid/family friendly one would be more popular with my friends.
I began by creating an invitation. I scoured the internet for some inspiration and settled on a design. When you’re having a party as big as the one I was creating, it’s hard to get all the pertinent information on the invite without it turning into a book!
I broke the party down into three areas: circus, sideshow, and carnival. The circus was set up in the living room, the bathroom became a sideshow, and the carnival was in the backyard.
I love to decorate and make things, so putting on a party like this was a lot of fun but a ton of work. Here’s how each area of the party turned out.
The Circus: Under the Big Top
I wanted the living room to have the suggestion of a circus tent so I bought a stack of dollar store plastic tablecloths and got to work. I tied a couple whites and a red one together on one end and attached them to the center of the room. Then I opened them out towards the wall and stapled them up. I continued like this around the room until about half of it was covered. I added another tablecloth from the ceiling to the floor to finish the sides of the “tent.”
The marquee was the other “big thing” I made for living room circus decor. It’s made from foam core board, poster board, string lights, and ping pong balls! I have a full tutorial here if you’d like to see how it was made.
The last area of the circus was the treat table I put up in the dining area. I had popcorn, candy, cupcakes, peanuts, etc. laid out everywhere! I also decorated some animal toys to look like circus animals for some extra flair.
The circus/carnival party I had was a great success and I wanted to share the cute cupcakes that I made for it. For more details about the party head over here. Below, learn about how to make carousel horse cupcakes and clown cupcakes.
Carousel Cupcakes – Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
After I found this cool cupcake carousel stand I couldn’t pass up making some cupcakes to go in it. To make the cupcakes look even more like they belonged on a carousel, I wanted to add some carousel horses to them. I found these really cute carousel horse cutouts for paper straws and I cut the straws in half so they could be cupcake toppers.
For the cake on these I used this delicious Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate cake recipe. The batter was incredibly runny and they didn’t rise very much, but they were moist and tasty. I only made a half batch for this party and shared my buttercream with the clown cupcakes below. If you make a full batch, use the frosting recipe below.
Make a batch of Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, but instead of the vanilla substitute peppermint extract. The peppermint goes so well with chocolate!
You’ll also be using this frosting for the clown cupcakes.